Interscholastic sports can be a challenge for kids, especially when you think about the time, effort, and dedication needed to excel in academics and sports – and still have time left over to spend with family and socialize with friends (AHPS). If that weren’t enough, the upcoming winter sport season can make this juggling act even more difficult for a number of factors, including cold weather, shorter days, and cumbersome travel schedules. It is for these reasons that families need to prepare now for the upcoming grind of winter sports.
Probably the toughest thing for student athletes when it comes to winter sports are the very short days – for many kids, it’s dark when they go to school, and by the time they leave after practice later that day it’s dark again! For some kids this can be a real struggle, and take a lot of the fun out of competing in their sport. Sport psychologists warn that even if the criteria for seasonal affective disorder is not met, this is still a concern to watch.
It also goes without saying that cold weather and delayed travel due to inclement weather can also take a mental toll on kids, making winter sports that much tougher. As practices and games get postponed, family schedules and homework are also impacted, making the task of successful multi-tasking paramount for a successful winter sport experience.
Student athletes are often expected to show mental toughness on the field or court, but during the winter months their greatest mental toughness challenges might be staying positive and successfully balancing an atypical and often stressful schedule. As a parent or coach, do your part today by preparing for the months ahead that can prove to be stressful for kids. Talk to kids about the importance of communication skills, multi-tasking, effectively dealing with stress, and asking for help when needed. There is no substitution for preparation, so prepare now for the long and tough winter season just ahead!
Check out our terrific high-performance audio programs for student athletes, parents, and coaches at www.drstankovich.com